Las Vegas might be known for its casinos, shows and fine dining. But this city is also the perfect destination for a family holiday — it is filled with activities for all ages. The Mandalay Hotel is home to a Shark Reef and provides visitors with the chance to feed stingrays and sea turtles or even dive with the sharks. For the younger kids, the Discovery Children’s Museum features Water Works, Young at Art and Fantasy Festival as part of its permanent exhibit. For the older kids, soaring over Fremont Street on the new SlotZilla might be just the adrenaline rush they are craving. So, once you’ve used Expedia to book a city break to Las Vegas, be sure to add these destinations to your itinerary.
Mandalay Bay Shark Reef
The Mandalay Bay Hotel offers a variety of experiences at its Shark Reef Aquarium, which houses more than 2,000 animals — including sawfish, giant rays, sea turtles, piranha, jellyfish, sharks and golden crocodiles. The aquarium is home to 14 exhibits, including a 1.3 million gallon shipwreck where visitors experience a nearly 360-degree view of sea creatures through an acrylic tunnel. Tickets are required to visit these exhibits.
If feeding a sea creature is on your bucket list, Mandalay Bay also offers several feeding options. During a one-hour program, guests can touch and feed stingrays and horseshoe crabs. Looking for more of a thrill? You can opt for an excursion with a Shark Reef Aquarist to feed sharks (with a feeding tong). Less adventurous guests can still have fun feeding tamer sea turtles. Here, you’ll have the chance to feed a 300-pound sea turtle as well as learn about these amazing creatures. Costs vary per excursion and reservations are required.
In addition to sea animal feedings, visitors can also schedule a dive with the sharks. While this excursion is only available to those with diving certifications, it provides the unique opportunity for divers to swim with more than 30 sharks including the Sandtiger, Sandbar and White Tip Reef sharks as well as Southern Stingrays and Green Sawfish. Divers are also invited to bring four guests to watch the experience. Reservations and additional fees are required.
Discovery Children’ Museum
If you are traveling with young children, Las Vegas’ Discovery Children’s Museum is a must-visit. This museum has nine on-going exhibits as well as traveling featured exhibits, which are open on a limited-time basis. The on-going exhibits feature The Summit, Fantasy Festival, Eco City, Patents Pending, Toddler Town, Water World, Solve It! Mystery Town, Young at Art and It’s Your Choice.
In the Solve It! exhibit, children learn about the art of investigation. They are given a mystery, clues, and then encouraged to solve it.
In Fantasy Festival, children can make believe on a life-size ship, castle and stage. They can wear costumes and bring to life their own theatrical productions.
The Summit is a 70-foot tower with 12 levels ascending all three floors of the museum, pinching through the roof. It features interactive science exhibits, sliding and climbing structures and exhibits that highlight connections between scientific concepts and real-life applications.
At the Water World exhibit, children can launch balls into winding tracks, guide boats through a lock system, feed a vortex and use air blowers to create currents. They also have the chance to experiment with a model of the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. Parents don’t need to worry; hand dryers and waterproof smocks are available for all exhibit visitors!
SlotZilla at the Fremont Street Experience
After an afternoon at the children’s museum, your older kids might be looking for a bit of a thrill. While zip lining in Las Vegas isn’t new, SlotZilla is.
This latest adrenaline rush has two options for would-be zippers. Riders can choose to take off from a 39-metre, 12-storey slot machine-themed platform and soar directly below the Viva Vision canopy. Riders will zip 21 metres above the ground. Riders also have the option to go on the propelled zoom line, which is 33.5 metres above Fremont Street. The cost is $20 for the zip line and $30 for the zoom line or $40 for both. SlotZilla will open in spring 2014.
Shark Reef Aquarium image by rustler2x4 from Flickr’s Creative Commons.
Zip lining image by sheilaellen from Flickr’s Creative Commons.